I finally got a chance to sit by a person traveling with a cat on an airplane when we traveled to Orlando recently on a Southwest Airlines flight. Southwest Airlines allows pets to travel in the cabin with their master as long as they can fit in a pet carrier below the seat in front. Meet Sir Charles, a calico cat traveling with his master across the country. I learned alot about Southwest Airlines pet travel that day. You'd better make sure you make a reservation for your pet. Southwest only allows a limited number of small cats or dogs to be taken on any single flight. Once you've paid for your pet's bording pass at the ticket counter, you take him through security just like all your other goods. How much does it cost to take a pet onto a Southwest Airlines flight? To take Sir Charles across the country on Southwest Airlines, in his under seat pet travel carrier, you'll have to fork over $75, each way. That's a lot of dog treats just to get kitty cat home with you. Plus, Southwest Airlines only allows one pet in each under seat carrier and only one carrier per ticketed passenger.
When you take your pet through security, you have to walk through the metal detector holding your pet while your pet carrier goes through security. They don't make you pass fido through with your camera equipment and your laptop computer. Be careful though, If your little friend starts acting a little suspicious, the TSA agent might try an aggressive pat down for good measure. They call it the cat down. Here's a picture of a TSA agent performing the cat down. By the look of things, it appears that Sir Charles is about to get the waterboard maneuver with a cup of hot coffee for failing to comply with requests to remove his completely nonthreatening collar.
One other thing to remember. Make sure you have a pet travel carrier that fits under the seat. It turns out not all pet travel carriers are as advertised. This poor lady had purchased travel carrier for Sir Charles from one of those national pet store chains, advertised as an under seat airline compliant carrier. When she got Sir Charles and his travel carrier to the front door of the Southwest Airlines airplane, they said it would not fit under the seat and forced her to purchase one from them that did. This almost sounds like a little racket going on here.
For $45 dollars, Southwest Airlines will be gladly sell you their pet travel carrier that is guaranteed to fit under their seat. At this point, I'm not sure you'd really have much of a choice now would you. As you can see, taking Marty and Cooper across the country could get expensive quite quickly. $75 + $75 + $75 +$75 +$45 +$45. We're looking at $390 round trip to get Marty and Cooper to Orlando and back. But, they'd be worth every penny. And oddly enough, about the same price for putting them up in a pet hotel for the week with the suite package, of course.